As with all projects, there is the initial workload ‘hurdle’ to overcome – those necessary stages are the easy part. Often, the greatest cost of achieving your goal is manifested in change management.
An Enterprise Portfolio/Project Management (EPM) deployment provides enormous opportunity for your organization to improve the visibility, awareness, consistency and performance of your project portfolio.
As with all projects, there is the initial workload ‘hurdle’ to overcome – you have to apply some effort to get to the desired goal, in terms of defining your scope and requirements and aiding your implementation partner in the design stages. Those necessary stages are the easy part.
Often, the greatest cost of achieving your goal is manifested in change management.
New work habits need to be established, and some processes will change. There will be different ways of initiating and tracking projects. (You might even see a reduced use of Microsoft Excel as your de-facto tool for project management.) Change management will naturally present additional hurdles to overcome. These hurdles are manageable, especially if anticipated in advance and planned for.
We usually see other issues getting in the way of a successful deployment: There are agendas at work that are not immediately apparent; there might be a resentment of the chosen solution, a fear of diminishing control or knowledge, a dispute about roles, a fundamental inertia, conflicting objectives or priorities, or any of a myriad of other obstacles.
When your EPM deployment is complete but acceptance is stalled, it’s time to revisit the original objectives. Your initial reason for deploying an EPM solution was undoubtedly to address some critical concerns about the project portfolio.
You had likely encountered a ‘complexity threshold’ that rendered obsolete the status quo method of project/portfolio management. Now you have an EPM Framework deployed. That’s like having a new car parked in your driveway. It looks nice, but it is not effective.
At this point the beneficial objectives still outweigh, by far, any remaining obstacles to adoption. But those underground obstacles can still leave your EPM deployment parked. If you are not leaving your driveway your sponsor or champion needs to step up.
The eagle’s view of the forest rather than the squirrel’s view from a tree-branch is required.
It is likely that the cause of non-adoption is rooted in an issue that simply should not register in the organizational view.
Once the cause of the blockage is identified, it can be dealt with. It may be the case that a staff member is threatened by the degree of change inherent with the EPM solution. In many cases, a staff member who has the ability to block deployment will also have the ability to become a supporter.
How can you re-orient the individual(s) to support EPM? An appeal to the staffer’s view of the value of their contribution to the organization can be effective. Alternately, a reiteration of the goals of the organization and how the individual’s goals align with the department objectives might be appropriate. Perhaps an altered role is appropriate – it may be possible to incorporate the function of the individual within the EPM context (perhaps through workflow initiation rather than your current project-initiation process).
If none of the carrot techniques are effective, the alternative is always available. Lastly, the implications of standing in the way of organizational objectives may need to be made clear.
The question is, how badly do you want to drive that new car and get out of the woods?